Effective lead generation is key to success in ecommerce businesses. But you don’t want just any leads for your business—you need highly-relevant and sales-qualified leads. How do you accomplish this?
With an ecommerce business, you spend loads of time and money in digital marketing, trying to get your website found and used by consumers. Are you happy with your results?
To truly attract and retain customers to your ecommerce website, you need to be strategically active on social media. More importantly, you need to know how to use social media to drive qualified lead generation.
With this article, you’ll learn eight ways you can use social media marketing to generate leads for your ecommerce business. You’ll see that the time and resources you put into social media can lead to a valued return on investment as long as you follow these best practices.
1. Know your audience
An ecommerce business would want to attract buyers to their site, but how do you know which consumers would be interested in what you offer? Having a clear understanding of who your audience is and what their needs are is critical for social media marketing success.
To truly know your audience, you need to research them thoroughly. Understand the difference between consumers based on the buying cycle. You’ll want to use social media to reach people at each stage of the funnel.
When researching your social media audience, keep the following points in mind.
Fill a need
Look for what is missing or needed in your consumers’ lives that you can offer. Your ecommerce website offers products that can help your social media audience resolve a need or problem. Use audience research to find which social users would be most likely to buy from your site. You’ll then be able to focus your efforts on them.
Create an actual persona document for each of your consumer types. A social media persona document should be a fictional but research-based description of your ideal consumer. This persona represents a buyer category for your business. A persona can help you pinpoint the actions to take that’ll attract qualified consumers to your website.
Make use of tools
The tools available to you for proper audience research will give you what you need to monitor and respond appropriately to targeted actions. You can focus on specific keyword mentions or your own brand account mention. This will allow you to respond to those users in a timely manner, offering your solutions to their problems. Use tools to help you better understand your audience and their pain points, such as Hootsuite and Mention.
Only when you know your most qualified audience will you be able to bring in the right consumers to your site via social media.
Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to increase social media engagement with better audience research, sharper customer targeting, and Hootsuite’s easy-to-use social media software.
2. Optimize your profiles
Your social media profiles, especially your bios, are what can attract and keep potential buyers. Each social media platform has its own profile design, but let’s go through how an ecommerce business can optimize two of the biggest ones: Facebook and Twitter.
Your Facebook Page gives you plenty of options for how to make it fit your business type and the audience you’re targeting. Start by choosing a page template. For an ecommerce business, you’ll likely want to choose the Shopping theme. This will allow you to create a user experience targeted toward online shopping.
In your About section, you have several sections you can use to attract buyers.
First, your Mission is where you can explain your business’ purpose in a way that is benefits-focused for your ideal consumer. Keep your mission pinpointed on how your business helps the consumer.
Your Company Overview is probably the best place to give your page visitors a reason to click through to your website. Explain who you are and what you have to offer. This isn’t the place for self-promotion but rather for explaining how your business is designed to solve [insert problem type] for [insert buyer type]. This section is a good place to add a call-to-action (CTA) that prompts people to go to your website. Add a URL to make it easy for people to click through.
Facebook offers businesses a place to list their various Products. In this section, you can highlight your best or most popular offerings (or all of them) for your visitors to see. This section is URL-friendly, so give your visitors a reason to click.
You also have a section for Contact Info. Many times, you’ll see this section neglected, but it’s important that you fill this out as much as possible. Give visitors a phone number that’s answered by a human being and an email address leading to a person that gives prompt replies. Even if it’s just a 1-800 number or an info@ email address, make sure it’s monitored before you include it.
The last section of importance in the About tab is your business’ Story. Use this section to share information about your business’ origins or fun facts about your workplace setting. It’s a good place to make your business sound more human, so add content here that shows personality.
On your Facebook page itself, you have the CTA button, which can be customized based on what works best for you and your visitors. Yes, this works both ways. Your CTA needs to work for your business goals, but if it is set up in a way that your visitors don’t like, they won’t click on it. To say it another way: if your visitors prefer to contact you by phone, don’t make your CTA an email link.
For an ecommerce business, your CTA will likely work best if you choose a type that leads people to your site. “Shop Now” is pretty standard and quite effective, but don’t be afraid to experiment.
Also on your Facebook page, you have your own visual elements. Your profile icon should be recognizable as your business logo. This is not the place for other types of imagery, but you can always tweak your logo based on a promotion or a season of the year as long as it’s still recognizable.
Your cover image is different from your logo. This is prime real estate for convincing anyone on Facebook—whether they’re fans or just visiting your page—that your ecommerce website is worth their investment. Use custom imagery that shows anything convincing, even if it involves some words, to give people a reason to seek more information. Some brands even include arrows to their page’s CTA for good measure. You can use tools like Canva or your own graphic designer to make these images.
It’s important to note that your cover image can, and should, change regularly. Use the space for a sales promotion or change it based on a thought leadership offering. Whichever you choose, make sure you have your audience personas in mind.
One last point about your Facebook page’s setup: Facebook offers businesses the opportunity to verify their account. Although you have more than one way to do this, the fastest is to use a phone number. With a verified account, you get a check mark next to your name, which makes your page more legitimate and trustworthy to your fans and visitors.
Your Twitter profile has highly effective opportunities for attracting other users to your account. You have several areas of your profile that you can optimize as an ecommerce business to attract the right audience.
You want your Twitter name and handle to be your business name, as long as it isn’t too long. If your name is, in fact, too long, find a good way to shorten it without making your account unrecognizable. Be careful with these two profile sections because they’re not easy to change later on.
Your Twitter bio is the best place for targeting your ideal audience. You have 160 characters to use, and you should use as many of them as possible to fully optimize your bio. In this section, you can add hashtags, other Twitter handles, and website links. You can explain who you are and what you have to offer.
In your Twitter bio, try using relevant, targeted hashtags to reach the right audience (the people who are likely to buy products from your website). As an ecommerce business, you likely want to focus on hashtags that relate to the products you offer. You also can use hashtags that you know shoppers are using from their accounts. Both of these methods will help you attract potential buyers.
Also in your bio, you may want to add your customer service handle, if you have a separate account for it. People will then know which account to contact should they have a question or issue. In addition to this, you may want to include a shortened link that leads to a relevant landing page on your website. Use this as an opportunity to promote certain products or offerings.
Always include your website in the section reserved for it. Ideally, you should use the full URL, and hopefully it’s short enough to appear in full on your profile. Most of the time, your website homepage will suffice.
As an ecommerce business, you may not have a single location to include in your bio. Thankfully, Twitter allows you to write whatever you want in this space. You can even just write “online” or “global,” if that’s what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be a geographic location. If you prefer not to include a location at all, that’s fine too.
Now, there are the visual elements: your profile icon and cover image. Your profile icon should be your business logo, and it should match with your other social media accounts to maintain consistency. Your cover image can be used the same way as with Facebook. You can use the space for a simple design or make it more promotional. As long as the image is high-quality and relevant, it will work.
The last part about optimizing your Twitter profile is very important: you want to get it verified by Twitter. When you do this, you’l get a blue checkmark next to your name. This will show other users that you’re a legitimate business account which can help you increase your follower count and improve the reach of your tweets. This, in turn, will increase the click-through rate to your website.
Other accounts you can optimize as an ecommerce business include:
Note: LinkedIn may not work for your business unless your target buyers are B2B. You should focus your efforts on the platforms where your buyers are actively searching for what you offer.
3. Work closely with your sales team
The sales team is often an untapped resource and a missed opportunity for useful, proven lead generation strategies. Sales staff handle the qualified leads you bring in. They get to know what makes your customers tick. In the later stages of making a sale, they are the ones who discover what can and cannot convert leads into customers. This is highly valuable information for you as a marketer.
Ask your sales colleagues what they know about your existing website shoppers. What are they most interested in? What do they like about your website? What is it about your business that gets them to buy from you? These are all questions that can help improve your lead generation efforts.
An ecommerce business cannot grow in silos. Marketing and sales teams need to work together to complete the full customer picture. It starts with marketing, attracting and converting leads. Then sales picks things up to close the deal. Both sales and marketing need to work together to nurture and support your customers—working together throughout the inbound process is key.
4. Provide value first
Social media is a conversational, value-based platform where sales pitches are frowned upon. It’s important to offer assistance more often than you promote yourself. You’ll still be able to generate leads by offering value in exchange for visitors’ info.
Social media is all about being social. Use it to communicate value in the form of real-time conversations, blog content, gated offerings, promotions, and more. Focus first on helping shoppers solve a problem, and the sales will come with time.
The important point to remember is that social media isn’t a broadcasting tool. It isn’t one big press release platform. You need to offer something to help your target audience until they feel ready to buy from you.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your ecommerce offerings at all. You certainly should. It’s about balancing your content in a way that attracts customers instead of pushing them away. If you’re wondering how to determine this balance, hop on over to this SEMrush article, where they dive into the “perfect” ratio of social media posts.
When you focus on value before promotion, you can still bring in leads to your website. People are more likely to give you their private information when you offer something of value that they can use immediately. With your products and website as a whole, you can create a limited-time offer that can generate an immediate sale. Alternatively, you can create a gated resource behind a landing page, requiring contact information to acquire the asset. The sales team can then approach this new lead to work on turning them into a customer.
5. Use persuasive calls-to-action
Your social media content should always have some form of call-to-action (CTA). It’s with these social CTAs that you drive your fans and followers to your online store. These are just a few of the best practices for using CTAs on social media:
Fit the CTA to the platform you’re on
What works for Facebook may not fit well with Pinterest, for example. Twitter has a restrictive character limit while Instagram offers more room. Your CTA should be formatted to fit with the different platform features as well as the audience there.
Use to-the-point, actionable copy
Especially on Twitter, where the feed moves so quickly, you need to grab attention right away. Your CTA needs to convince users to click or respond, but it won’t work if your copy is too long or vague.
Tell your audience where the link will lead them
Clickbait and deceptiveness will only hurt your lead generation efforts and may even hurt your brand image. Be clear why people should go to your website by promoting the value of the destination.
Speak directly to the individual
If you’re thinking of writing in the third person, you’ll be making a mistake. Using second-person language, such as “you,” targets the person as an individual. People want to see brands speaking directly to them, and taking this approach will help.
Make sure you’re tracking and testing your CTAs
When you’re using a standard CTA and not seeing results, it’s important that you test changes (one at a time) to it. Track the metrics that you can acquire in the platform analytics or Google Analytics to see how your CTA performs. You don’t want to keep the same CTA design and copy forever, so make sure you’re experimenting and measuring regularly.
Your call-to-action as an ecommerce business may often lead to a product page. That’s fine if your CTA copy effectively shows that product’s value. However, as a social media CTA, it may prove more worthwhile in the long-term to lead people to your blog offerings or a gated resource. This is as long as your social media purpose is to build relationships first, lead generation second.
6. Send your audience to optimized landing pages
Above, you learned the importance of persuasive calls-to-action. Now it’s time to learn where those CTAs should lead to and how to optimize these pages for lead generation.
When you’re sharing something on social media, such as a promotion or event notice, you’ll need to include a link. This link should lead to a landing page relevant to that topic. It shouldn’t lead to your homepage or an off-topic product page. You don’t want to trick your audience if you want them to become customers.
Your landing page must be fully optimized to make the user experience flawless and effective. Your landing page has important elements—copy, website reliability, responsiveness, and overall design—that must be of the highest quality.
Landing page design
When you’re promoting a free trial, ebook, discount, or anything from your ecommerce website, make sure your social media design matches well with your landing page. This is true for your copy as well, which we’ll dive into next.
Your landing page should catch people’s attention and keep it as soon as they arrive on your site. Website design is key for that.
You may want to focus on these design elements:
- Imagery or video
Landing page copy
When you’re creating a social media post, you’re trying to convince your audience to click through to your landing page. But what if your social media copy doesn’t match with your landing page? People are more likely to bounce right off your website.
On your landing page, make it clear what the page’s purpose is and how it will benefit the visitor. On social media, you may have told them that they can get a free trial of your loyalty program. Your landing page should clearly say that filling out the form or making the purchase will give the visitors what they came to get.
Landing page reliability
People expect fast website load times and that’s not just true for desktop browsers anymore; mobile responsiveness is now essential too. If your product pages or free trial page doesn’t load immediately, you’re going to see a much higher bounce rate in Google Analytics.
As an ecommerce business, you’re trying to get people to shop from your website, so it needs to be reliable and responsive. People don’t have the patience for glitchy, slow, or anti-mobile websites, so make sure your landing pages are fully optimized for performance on all devices.
7. Advertise your best offerings
Social media advertising is now essential for getting your content seen by a large audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have feed algorithms that dramatically reduce organic reach. Advertising has now become an integral part of any social media marketing strategy.
When you have an ecommerce website, you want to attract your social media audience to products, trials, and any other key offerings you have. Use advertising to bring the attention from those social media users you can’t reach organically. This primarily includes those users who aren’t currently fans or followers of your accounts.
When you’re trying to make a decision, focus your advertising on your best-performing organic content or any gated offerings where you can collect contact info. You may have published a new product line post on Facebook that you want to boost. Or, you may have a new loyalty program for shoppers that you can advertise via a full lead generation advertising campaign.
Before you commit to an advertising campaign, always check your purpose to see if it aligns with your overall social media goals. You want to drive social media users to your ecommerce website with the goal of seeing them make a purchase. Your advertisements should clearly support that. Otherwise, you’re going off track, wasting resources, and missing opportunities.
8. Keep going strong
Social media lead generation takes time for any business, including ecommerce. It’s important that you commit to the process over time. Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. You need to continuously work on your strategy to see the return on investment you’re seeking.
To keep your social media focused on lead generation, you have options for what you can do:
- Participate in social trends, such as #MotivationMonday, when appropriate, to reach people beyond your followers. As an ecommerce business, this is an effective way to promote your offerings in creative ways. This, in turn, will attract people who otherwise wouldn’t know who you are and what you offer.
- Engage in real-time conversations with your prospects and existing customers. Don’t just respond to them. Remember to initiate conversations when possible.
- When setting up your online store, ensure a seamless user experience. Make the transfer from social media to shopping quick and easy. It helps to have a connector on your website that relates well to your social media content. Landing pages are great for that.
- Monitor mentions of your business and any relevant keywords that relate well with your online store products. This is an important opportunity to engage with prospects and bring them to your website. In exchange for offering value, your social engagement may increase your conversion rate.
- Be sure to have a customer support strategy in place for your current customers. There’s nothing worse than seeing a complaint go viral on social media. To prevent this, have a system in place where both complaints and praise are recognized. Resolve the issue quickly to keep your customers happy. Show gratitude for praise to build brand loyalty.
You now know eight helpful ways to bring in leads to your ecommerce website from social media. These are proven ways to increase the quality of your lead generation. Your marketing leads will be more likely to become qualified sales leads, which helps you see the return on investment (ROI) of your social media activity.
No matter what platform you’re using, Hootsuite can help you drive—and track—leads from social media. Try it free today.